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Archive for Saturday, July 22, 2000

Canine complaint

July 22, 2000

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To the editor:

Road rage, air rage, sports rage, and now. . .dog rage? George Gurley's column in Sunday's Journal-World about his encounters on the hill with undisciplined dogs prompts me to write this letter I've been meaning to send ever since two unfortunate encounters with dogs at Clinton Lake this spring.

Like Mr. Gurley, my husband Ted and I and our Irish setter, Ben, are senior citizens; our particular form of exercise is a Sunday morning walk at the Clinton Lake overlook, a pastime we've enjoyed for many years.

As one enters the park gates, and again at the overlook parking area, signs are posted reading, "Pets must be on leash in the park." Twice this past spring, our leashed dog was set upon by unleashed dogs whose owners had little control over them. On one occasion, Ben lay in a submissive fetal position on the ground as the attack dog made for his neck with fangs bared, finally stopping short of inflicting lasting damage. Perhaps the young woman in each case had her dog along for protection, but both women failed to react when I asked them politely to leash their dogs as they approached. These owners did not have the necessary control over their dogs to stop them from inflicting real harm on either us or our dog in this isolated situation by the lake shore.

The obvious question that I raise along with George Gurley is not one of proper dog behavior but of proper human behavior. "Civilization," my husband is fond of quoting, "is measured by the extent to which people obey unenforceable laws." What has become of civility in our city? Has it gone to the dogs?

Mary Greenwood Johnson, Lawrence

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